Programming note: We’ll have one more live chat at the regular time, Tuesday at 1:30, before shifting to a summer schedule (TBA). Be here.
Beyond the official wrap story, here are some selections from other interviews around the room on Thursday and Friday:
The broken wrist. The broken collarbone. A rough first half.
“I’m in midseason shape. I could play another two months. It’s tough, obviously. I came back, I was just starting to feel better, and then I got hurt again. I don’t think it took as long as it had the first time. I was feeling good at the end of the season. I’m healthy now.”
“We played well down the stretch. The last 20, 25 games, everybody was playing well. We bought into the system. We played well in the playoffs. Hershey’s a good team. A few games could have gone either way, but that’s what happened.”
“I think every year you’re going to have your ups and downs. It’s just part of the season.”
“The downside is the way we kind of went out, with seven shots in the last game. You don’t want to go out like that. … We got ourselves into the playoffs after being out at some points. But it was really up and down. … I thought we showed a lot of character. We could have packed it in, especially with the weather getting nice.”
“You can see it in all sports. Whether you have a great team, you might have ups and downs, too, but usually you end up playing more well. I don’t think we had as good a team as we had last year, when you talk about all the names, but we squeezed out a lot of this team. I’m a proud member of this team.”
“I think it was a better group than last year, even though that’s nothing bad about last year’s group. I did enjoy it a lot. Coming from Europe, I always played in my hometown. I always played with Finns. It’s a cliche, but the guys always made me feel like home.”
Joensuu wants to play in the NHL. “It’s a three-year project,” he said wryly.
“I’m looking to make the team. If I was not looking to make the team, I would stay at home.”
“It was a tough year. There were a lot of call-ups, a lot of injuries, but we had a great group of guys. That’s what you need.”
“The shoulder was tough. After I got hit, I missed a few games, and I came back, maybe, too early. I was really staying away from hits. I wasn’t hitting at all. You don’t know it’s ready until you go and take a few hits. I started to do it in the playoffs. I felt OK, a little more comfortable with it.”
“Rhett (Rakhshani) came in; he’s going to be a great player. Even (Michael) Davies, he showed pretty well. It’s a tough thing for the guys coming in from college. I was that guy, too.”
(On not having a meeting) “I can’t read too much into it. I don’t know. I know I’m unrestricted. I’d love to come back and play here. I’ve really enjoyed my time here as well. It’s on them. We’ll see what happens, but it’s in their court. Hopefully.”
(What’s next?) “No idea. I’ll leave that up to my agent, see what’s out there, go from there, I guess.”
It seemed as if he never got a chance to get momentum going, with the hand infection early on
“It was a tough year for me. I’m obviously not happy with the way the season went. As far as anyone else, it’s kind of out of my control because of my injury. I’m just going to get away from everything for a bit, get a place out west, and train, dedicate my summer to training. I’m going to let my actions speak for themselves next year. And that’s all I have to say.”
“We felt we had Game 1. They sweat blood for 58 and a half minutes. It is what it is. We were up against a good team. … There was a lot of progress from the young kids. A lot of guys got better. The video, the meetings, you hope it pays off.”
“A lot of guys came a long way. Unfortunately DiBo, Katic had injuries, couldn’t play the whole year. You look at Figgy, and like I said, Tyler. They really paid attention to detail, they focused and it really paid off for them. Those two guys, especially the second half Tyler had. It paid dividends with hard work. You can’t lose sight of the goaltending we got during the year.”
“We had a great room, great makeup, personalities. Wotts did a tremendous job as captain, leading us on and off the ice. … We had a lot of call-ups. Never lose sight of the guys we called up from the (lower) minor leagues who helped us, the guys who went up to the Islanders and helped them.”
“When we had a young team like that, if we could stay competitive around Christmas, around .500, I knew we were going to get better down the stretch, and that’s exactly what we did.”
On the room: “It’s the same as last year. It was part of our success.”
Playing next year? “I’m going to play somewhere.” Here? “We’ll see. I’ll be playing.”